[CES 2019]: JBL Link Drive brings Google Assistant’s smarts to cars

“JBL Link Drive lets you access Google’s AI virtual assistant while driving thanks to the built-in always-on microphone”

JBL added a new Google Assistant-powered product to its lineup this year at CES. The company took the wraps off the JBL Link Drive that helps bring the AI virtual assistant to your car. The gadget has a built-in always-on microphone that lets you summon Google Assistant and access its suite of services while driving without taking the hands off the wheel.


Like other similar devices, the JBL Link Drive also uses your smartphone to carry out all the commands. The compact device is compatible with almost every car out there. It needs to be plugged into your vehicle’s 12V socket (the cigarette lighter) and pair it with the Google app on your Android or iOS handset. Once this is done, just use the hot words — “Hey Google” or “Ok Google” — to activate and ask for the nearest gas station, add something to your shopping list, etc.

The device has dual noise-cancelling microphones that JBL claims improve voice recognition even if your car window is down or the surroundings are noisy. Furthermore, the Link Drive uses its Radio Barging tech to automatically turn music or radio volume down so that you don’t have to yell while using Google Assistant. This is also said to work when you’re talking to someone over phone. You can also connect the JBL Link Drive via Aux and sync it with your car’s speakers.

Talking about its price, the JBL Link Drive costs $59.99 (about Rs 4,200) in the US. You can grab the device from JBL’s website and “select retailers” in Spring 2019.